April 13, 2011

Got Hirsutism?

One day at work, I was assisting a cheery young woman. To paint a picture: she was mousy of coloring, freckled complexion, hair in no particular style, and glowingly positive which, when you work with people, is a rare jewel. She was the sort of person you'd have a rapport with instantly, no matter who you were and what your own personality was like. It was a pleasure to serve her. As we were talking through the transaction and making eye contact, I noticed that her complexion seemed darker around her jaw and chin--the kind of thing you'd probably only really see if that area of the face was of personal significance to you. And then, of course, it was all I could see. There was no point in which I could get close enough to really tell, but I became more and more convinced that it was beard shadow.

But what is the protocol for asking? There just isn't one. I was burning to ask, and she seemed like she would have been frank with me. But I had to think about how I would feel if it were me being asked.

If it were one of those days (as it has been lately) where I had fought with my face all morning to hide my secret and struggle to even leave the house and go about my day, someone asking me, "Hey, are you hirsute?" would probably be devastating. Was it that obvious? Does everybody notice but no one has the guts to ask? I'd probably slink home and crawl under my covers for the rest of the day, feeling sorry for myself.

However, if it was a good day, and I felt confident... I don't know, maybe I'd be relieved. Maybe I'd sigh like a weight had been lifted off me and say, "Yes! Oh thank goodness, yes!" I'd be excited to meet someone who was aware of the issue. And I bet this is more the case for me than it used to be. I get closer all the time to telling people I wouldn't necessarily trust implicitly. As I begin to see that there is no "fix" for the symptoms, it's becoming clear that my beard is just a part of me, like my near sightedness or that freckle on my butt. It makes me no less a woman, it just makes me me. If only I could feel like that all the time...


Sophie said...


This thing that takes over my mind every time I leave the house. Buses are especially dangerous. I can't help but stare at women and look for it, and i'm getting better (less paranoid?) since I realise that I do it but still... And usually the conclusion comes: nah, she's not... and then the thoughts of how i wish i met Jennifer Miller one of those days. I have visualised this million times in my head.
Back to reality - If I had good reasons to believe someone had The Problem and tried to hide it but say, I saw them on the "bad" day and being me, noticed it, I would come up to them and show them some part of me that I would be confident that would make them feel a bit better about themselves, and see where the conversation takes us :)
If I had a semi good reason to believe someone had The Problem, i would just walk near them and whisper "hirsutism" a lot and see if they react.
If someone came up to me with this question, I would "adopt" them. I am at the stage of my life that any hirsute girl who saw me, would know. I think the normals I know wouldnt be shocked if I suddenly came out; I have been preparing them for a while now. Yes, probably on a really bad day, it would break me but, like yourself, I came to realise that there is not much choice but to accept. Well, you can also sit down and cry but I have been there, done that and it was not much fun.

Allerleirah said...

*lol* Oh my goodness, if someone whispered "hirsutism" at me you BET I'd react! XD Eep!

Man, if I met someone who wasn't trying to hide it at all, that'd be a different story. I'd probably fangirl all over them, whether they were a famous bearded lady or not. :D That'd be cool. And rather surreal.

Sophie said...

:) :) :)


Yes, I would fangirl them, too, I am certain of it. The funniest thing is, Al... we are those very ladies we want to fangirl... life is hilariuos.


ps. i have officially started writing an email to you i promised myself i wont delete. howgh!

Allerleirah said...

The funniest thing is, Al... we are those very ladies we want to fangirl...

I LOVE that! :O :D

Callie said...

I will often mention casually mention hair removal techniques in passing to new friends. just so they know I'm aware of my beard and would LIKE it to be gone. My biggest fear is that people think that I'm lazy and/or stupid and really don't know what's going on on my face. I've heard people make horrible jokes or disparaging comments about women with moustaches or "chin hairs" and even now at the age of thirty I try to hide my neck and chin in the big scarves I always wear and feel like I'm going to throw up.

Allerleirah said...

Callie, you know I think I find myself doing the same thing. I thought I was doing it to sort of test the waters, so to speak--you know, see if that spurs some ignorant comments about women with beards or not. But I can see the advantage to wanting people to know that we know and are doing our best. I wonder if that's been an unconscious motive?

Oh yes, scarves are our friends. Also turtlenecks. :)